Through exploring multiple online identities in Topic 2, it’s clear that an increasing number of web users are choosing to portray both personal and professional facets of their identities online. But why is building a professional online identity important? The video below provides some insight.
Figure 1. Social Recruitment Statistics (self-produced with statistics from Jobvite, 2014)
With such changes in the way employers approach recruitment, it makes sense for individuals to mirror this approach in terms of their careers, and that’s where personal branding comes in (Nyman, 2014a). In the same way that marketers promote brands, individuals can promote themselves to potential employers (Weiss, 2013). This idea of ‘personal branding’ can be explored through professional networking sites such as LinkedIn. By taking on a digital resident role and actively managing your online presence, you can network with industry professionals, explore career opportunities and increase your visibility to potential employers (Carruthers, 2012). Whilst I’m no LinkedIn expert, I have acquired some useful tips on how to build a successful profile, as outlined below.
Figure 2. LinkedIn Tips (self-produced with information from Nyman, 2014b)
There’s a fine line between marketing yourself and putting employers off, and that’s where authenticity comes in. Authenticity is about being original and genuine, which are traits that people value both offline and online (Winstead, 2015). As the phrase goes, “people hire people”, so showing a bit of personality through your online presence can go a long way to securing a job role. Whilst creating an authentic profile is easier said than done, a good start is to share your values, passions and goals in an honest and open manner. This can be achieved through blogging or an online portfolio, both of which demonstrate creativity, enthusiasm and dedication (TheEmployable, 2014).
The Key to Consistency
Consumers prefer brands that are consistent, and the same applies to online users that experience your personal brand (Noble, 2013). To build a consistent online presence, I suggest using a similar tone of voice across platforms and, where possible, the same name, username and profile photo (James, 2015). Consistency can also be achieved through an about.me page, which pulls together all of your online profiles to reinforce a coherent online identity. It’s also a good idea to ensure that your true values and the values you present online are consistent. After all, you are what you share, post, like and tweet (take note, Justin Saco!).
Whilst there are numerous ways to approach building a professional online identity, I’ve noticed three emerging themes: Market yourself, remain authentic and be consistent. In the current digital world, your professional online presence could make or break an opportunity, so be sure to consider it thoughtfully and carefully.
Carruthers, R. (2012). Managing your digital footprint. Career Destinations, University of Southampton.
James (2015). Maintaining a consistent brand identity across social platforms. LCN.
Jobvite (2014). Social Recruiting Survey 2014.
Noble, J. T. (2013). Truth will out – why authenticity is the key to growing your business. Kissmetrics Blog.
Nyman, N. (2014a). I’ll tweet you my job spec if you snap me your CV. Web Science MOOC.
Nyman, N. (2014b). Let’s get LinkedIn. Neil’s Recruitment.
Ronson, J. (2015). How one stupid tweet blew up Justin Saco’s life. The New York Times Magazine.
Tapscott, D. (2014). Five ways talent management must change. World Economic Forum.
TheEmployable (2014). How blogging can get you a job. TheEmployable.
Weiss, M. (2013). Job hunting: How to promote yourself online. BBC News.
Winstead, R. (2015). Being yourself: The importance of authenticity in online marketing. Business 2 Community.